3 Simple Ways to Achieve Any Goal

by Rachel Gillett

Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” is the king of habits and a self-proclaimed “human guinea pig.”

So you might think he has nerves of steel that help him accomplish just about anything he sets his mind to.

But according to Ferriss, you’d be wrong.

During his Reddit AMA yesterday, Reddit user gambari lamented:

I’ve been trying for many years to get my life closer to where I envision it but I always come up short, mostly because I don’t follow through or let other, less important things, get in the way… When you say you’re going to do something, you do it. Your strength of conviction and desire to get it done gets you there. Any thoughts about cultivating strength of purpose or other ideas?

Ferriss’s response: “Not true! I often have terrible conviction and willpower.”

Instead, Ferriss credits a few daily habits that help prevent his “lesser self from winning.” They are:

1. Begin and end each day with journaling.

Ferriss recommends picking up a copy of “The Five Minute Journal,” a physical journal (there’s also an app) that divides each day’s entry into sections like “What would make today great?” and “3 amazing things that happened today . . .”

the five minute journal

There are three sections to fill out in the morning and two for the evening.

Ferriss is a proponent of journaling for at least two reasons: the process of putting pen to paper helps him figure things out, and transferring muddling thoughts from his head to his journal helps him move forward with his day.

2. Confront your fears head-on.

To get over the doubt that was holding Ferriss back from achieving his dreams, he developed a process he calls “fear setting.”

Every four to six weeks Ferriss will think of an important goal that he’s kept himself from attempting. Then he’ll divide a piece of paper into three columns.

  • In the first column, he writes down all of the things that could go terribly wrong should his attempt fail.
  • In the second column, he writes down ways he can prevent these terrible outcomes from happening.
  • In the third column, he writes how he would recover from each of the scenarios if they happened.

3. End the day with exercise.

Ferriss suggests scheduling (and defending) between 20 and 40 minutes of exercise each day around 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. Bookending the day in this way, he writes, will help you get off your computers and provide some structure to organize everything else around.


3 Responses to “3 Simple Ways to Achieve Any Goal”
  1. Christa says:

    This journal and app that Ferris was talking about. What is the name, writer or company for it because on app stores it does not appear as Five minute journal. Thank you for your assistance.

  2. Susan says:

    5 Minute Journal is a Mac app pnly, not Android. Sniff.
    Would get it for Android in a Chicago minute.

  3. James says:

    Maybe I’m ancient, but the 5 Minute Journal has a paper app (good old fashioned pen and paper). It interfaces perfectly with my OS and hardware (aka brain and hands) 😀

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